E3 2014: Ubisoft E3 Round-Up
Ubisoft has gone for a much more relaxed approach to their press conference for this year's E3 press conference. There's none of the formal suits that many folks have been wearing at the other shows and they chose to open a bit of impact courtesy of Far Cry 4 before settling in with host Aisha Tyler.
The Far Cry 4 footage came from the first five minutes of the game and it provides the best introduction possible to the game's main bad guy, Pagan Min. Min is very different to Far Cry 3's unhinged Vaas Montenegro, much more measured and intelligent as opposed to Vaas' voliatile aggression. The game's executive producer Dan Hay describes him as the friend, who everyone has had at some point, who will get you into trouble if you follow him.
As Hay says,"You'll be travelling on a bus towards an armed border at the foot of the Himalayas. We'll give you a fake passport, a bit of cash and a gun and after that; well, after that you're f**ked."
This is a brutal introduction to Far Cry 4 and it's also quite disorienting it makes it clear that Pagan Min knows more about your player's character than you do, for the moment at least.
This year's press conference was certainly one of Ubisoft's better ones in recent years and Aisha Tyler, in her third year presenting has settled in and calmed down. Her passion for the games really shines through without the embarrassing "girl wood" banter of 2012.
The key moments of the show were almost all as you'd expect with appearances from Assassin's Creed: Unity, Just Dance 2015, Far Cry 4, The Division and The Crew but they did have one nice surprise at the end. This line-up underlines the feeling that Ubisoft relayed earlier this year that they announced Watch Dogs too soon (back at E3 2012 to be exact) and they wanted to concentrate on titles that are much closer to being finished.
Assassin's Creed: Unity is a big deal. It looks like Ubisoft has learned a lot of lessons from previous titles and from the development of Watch Dogs all of which have fed back into development of the latest Assassin's Creed game to build a fantastic new world.
This project has been restricted to release on next-gen and PC only and it looks like it has reall benefitted from not having to cater to the PS3 and Xbox 360. It's rendering of 18th century Paris is positively breathtaking and new hero, Arno's animations are fantastically fluid in a way that not even Black Flag can match.
The world is also amazingly detailed. Watch Dogs work on world creation has informed Assassin's Creed: Unity's development and Paris is vibrant and alive like no Assassin's Creed game environment before it.
They've also dropped the competitive multiplayer in favour of a new four-player drop-in co-op componenet allowing players to bring in their friends to help take down their targets.
Next up was The Crew. Ivory Tower's racing MMO now looks like it is shaping up to be something really special and they showed off a sped-up video with in-game footage of cars driving all the way across the US from Miami to New York City to San Francisco. There are several of these driving missions which last over 2 hours.
This is a rich environment for driving fans to meet up and challenge each other at any location and they detailed their Route 909 initiative which brought the community in to play and explore the game and help shape the experience that will launch later this year.
They also announced a new closed beta which will launch on July 23rd. The Crew also got a release date of November the 11th.
And now for the surprise. Rainbow Six has been lost in the mists of development hell for several years now with ubisoft eventually going back to the drawing board on the project that was Rainboe Six: Patriots.
The surprise reveal of the new title in the series shows off a game that really goes back to the roots of Rainbow Six focusing on a crack team that can diffuse dangerous situations. Rainbow Six: Siege is the the result.
On show was footage of a multiplayer played on PC between the Rainbows and a team of terrorists holding a woman hostage in her home. The Rainbows have a lot of interesting tools at their disposal including a small stealth drone that can be used to survey environments to assess the best way to breach. The strategy is enhanced by amazinly destructible environments. Walls and even floors and ceilings are fail game and the game builds to a climax where the Rainbows breach through a ceiling to rescue the female hostage from the remaining two captors.
This was early footage and the textures aren't all that great but the destruction and particle effects were fantastic and they really seemed top enhance the dynamic of the gameplay. This is definitely one to look forward to in 2015.